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Catholic Bishops urge care for sea & people of West Papua

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Left to right: Bishop John Bosco Baremes, SM, Bishop of Port Vila, Vanuatu, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv (Parramatta), Bishop Robert McGuckin (Toowoomba), Bishop Charles Drennan, Bishop of Palmerston North, New Zealand, Archbishop Michel Calvet, SM, Archbishop of Noumea, New Caledonia and Archbishop John Ribat MSC, Archbishop of Port Moresby – ACBC Media Blog

Nabire, Jubi – Executive Committee of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania urge care for the sea and support the indigenous people of West Papua.

The statement is written by the committee consisted of Australia, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, New Zealand, CEPAC – the rest of the Pacific through its press statement released by scoop.co.nz, Monday (August 14).

The Executive Committee of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania is currently meeting in Auckland, New Zealand. They come from a multitude of island nation States spread throughout the Pacific Ocean.

They said, Bishops of the Pacific, the place of the sea in the lives of the peoples they serve were a central focus of their meeting. “Our common ocean is teeming with life and goodness. For many of our peoples the sea is their treasured source of nutrition, sustenance and livelihood. In solidarity with them, Psalm 107 resonates in our hearts: “those that do business in the great waters, they behold the world of the Lord and his wonders in the deep.”

The bishops and archbishops aware of the impact of climate change on island nations and have been visiting communities and recording the destruction of shorelines affecting them.

They also said that they have particular interest in the “Blue Economy” to uphold a model of development that respects the fundamental importance of sustainability that looks way beyond any perceived short term economic windfall.

“Members of Parliament and local Governors and other civic authorities have a particular duty to promote long term economic and social development and to be vigilant in guarding against any attempts by international businesses to exploit our common resource,” it said.

They applaud government, community and private initiatives to develop water ecotourism and sustainable sea fishing. They also reaffirm that they are not “anti-development”. They look to the common good and thus advocate for an integrated approach to development where local customary practices are respected and communities are assisted to grow employment opportunities.

On West Papua

A further focus has been the livelihood and cultural integrity of the people of West Papua.

They said clearly that they do not promote a view in regard to independence (of West Papua). “Indeed we believe that where this question becomes a single focus, care to uphold and strengthen local institutions of democracy may be overlooked,” they said.

The federation echoes the call for quality education in Papua, for fair and transparent access to jobs, training programmes and employment, for respect of land titles, and for clear boundaries between the role of defense and police forces and the role of commerce.

They claimed that the large majority of indigenous people of Papua seek peace and the various dialogue groups, advocating and witnessing to peaceful co-existence, are a source of hope for all.

They will hold the Plenary Assembly in Port Moresby in April 2017 to which is invited all the bishops of Oceania. And the theme then will be – ‘Care of our Common Home of Oceania: A sea of possibilities’.

The statement signed by two Archbishops and four Bishops. They Archbishops are: Archbishop Sir John Cardinal Ribat MSC (President), Archbishop of Port Moresby, PNG and Archbishop Michel Calvet SM, Archbishop of Noumea, New Caledonia. And the four Bishops are: Bishop Robert McGuckin (Deputy President) Bishop of Toowoomba, Australia; Bishop Colin Campbell, Bishop of Dunedin, New Zealand; Bishop Charles Drennan, Bishop of Palmerston North, New Zealand; and Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, Australia.(*)

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Reconstruction is necessary to track the implementation of Special Autonomy in Papua

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Papua Civil Servants held protest in 2016 to support Governor’s statement to return the special autonomy ‘s fund to Jakarta – Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – A lecturer International Relations of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Cenderawasih Laus D.C. Rumayom asserted that reconstruction might be crucially important for evaluating the implementation of the Special Autonomy in Papua.

According to him, the reconstruction might help to assess achievements and obstacles occurred since the Special Autonomy Law applied in Papua since 2001.

“Some people say it works, whereas some say it doesn’t. But what the measure is? What does it look of its relationships with international politics?” Rumayom told Jubi on Thursday (10/11/2018).

Moreover, he said we would find out whether indigenous Papuans understand the situation after 18 years of the implementation of Special Autonomy and the map of future development.

“Therefore you might able to say that the indigenous Papuans should not become a beggar. We must have a strong principle of maintaining what has become a political contract through the Special Autonomy,” he said.

However, he said it is undeniable that the indigenous Papuans are facing social and cultural degradation. He took an example of seven tribes who are the landowners of PT. Freeport Indonesia’s mining area that has no power to voice their rights on gold and copper mine.

“Yet the outsiders talk about it, even though they have no relations at all with the family or the lands or another else,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Director of LP3BH Manokwari Yan Christian Warinussy recently said the government need to promptly encourage and promote a thorough evaluation of the implementation of the Special Autonomy policy to see and answer a series of questions over the past ten years.

“The evaluation is aimed to find a policy breakthrough for stakeholders, including the government’s role so that it could thoroughly protect their citizens,” said Warinussi. (*)

Reporter: Arjuna Pademme

Editor : Pipit Maizier

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Memo NZ: ‘Get on the right side of history’ over West Papua

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Vanuatu says New Zealand should get on the right side of history and support West Papuan self-determination. However, reports James Halpin of Asia Pacific Journalism, Indonesian diplomacy with its Pacific allies Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea are defiantly undermining Pacific “solidarity” on the issue.

Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu has called on New Zealand to get on the right side of history when it comes to West Papua.

Reaffirming President Salwai’s remarks at the UN General Assembly late last month, Regenvanu told Asia Pacific Report that the “people of Vanuatu have never had the opportunity to exercise their right of self-determination, which is an unalienable right under international law, and they must be given that opportunity”.

Vanuatu was one of three countriesfour less than in 2016 – whose leaders gave UN strong messages in support of West Papuan self-determination.

Independence for Vanuatu was achieved from the co-colonisers France and the United Kingdom in 1980.

West Papua had been a colony of the Dutch New Guinea but was annexed by Indonesia after a paratrooper “invasion” in 1962 followed by a UN-supervised vote in 1969 described by critics as fraudulent.

Asked why Vanuatu has taken the lead in advocating for West Papua, Regenvanu says:

“We take this position because of our historical solidarity with the people of West Papua – we were once together and the struggles as colonies trying to become independent; we achieved ours and we will not forget our brothers-and-sisters-in-arms who have not got theirs.”

Forum failure

For President Salwai and Regenvanu, the recent Pacific Islands Forum was a failure at gaining Pacific support for West Papuan self-determination.

“We are disappointed at the position of Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Australia to vocally oppose self-determination for West Papua. We are pleased that most other countries support self-determination, however.”

Regenvanu also criticises New Zealand for not following the advice that it gives to Pacific Island countries.

New Zealand should, “actively support with actions on this issue the ‘international rules-based order’ it is always promoting to PICs”.

The Melanesian Spearhead Group, which shares an ethnicity with the people of West Papua, has also failed at achieving solidarity over the issue.

“PNG and Fiji have strong ties to Indonesia and work actively to ensure the MSG does not address the issue.”

End colonialism call

President  Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas introduced the issue of West Papua to the UN General Assembly this year.

“For half a century now, the international community has been witnessing a gamut of torture, murder, exploitation, sexual violence, arbitrary detention inflicted on the nationals of West Papua perpetrated by Indonesia.”

“We also call on our counterparts throughout the world to support the legal right of West Papua to self-determination.”

For President Salwai, it is an issue of justice and equality for the people of West Papua,

“I would like to get back to the principles in the charter of the United Nations to reaffirm that we believe in the fundamental rights of human beings in dignity and worth of the human person and in equality of rights between men and women and nations large and small.”

President Salwai has been the flag bearer of West Papuan self-determination. His aim is for West Papua to be placed back onto the decolonisation list under the UN charter.

However, President Salwai was supported by two other Pacific leaders, Marshall Islands’ President Hilda Heine of the Marshall Islands, and Enele Sopoaga of Tuvalu.

Sopoaga said: “The United Nations must also engage with the people of West Papua to find lasting solutions to their struggles.”

Constructive engagement

President Heine staid that Pacific Island countries supported constructive engagement on the issue.

At the 2016 UN General Assembly, seven countries stated their supported for West Papuan self-determination. These were: Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Tonga, Palau.

Decolonisation has become an important part of foreign relations in the Pacific with the New Caledonian independence vote on November 4.

After hundreds of years of European colonisation, the UN has provided a platform for and facilitated the self-determination of indigenous peoples across the world.

The Indonesian delegation denounced Vanuatu at the UN General Assembly just days ago. The Indonesia delegation used the entirety of their second right of reply in the general debate to deplore Vanuatu’s support for West Papuan self-determination.

“Although being disguised with flowery human rights concern, Vanuatu’s sole intention and action are directly challenging the internationally agreed principles of friendly relations between state, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” UN General Assembly Vice-President Muhammad Kalla said on behalf of his country.

He said: “Like any other country, Indonesia will firmly defend its territorial integrity.”

The Indonesian representative, Aloysius Taborat, said: “respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity is the cardinal rule in the relation among nations and in the United Nations”.

However, critics say Indonesia’s handling of West Papua’s vote in the 1969Act of Free Choice “was rigged” so that West Papua would vote to join Indonesia. Therefore, many see hypocrisy in Indonesia’s words, including in their reputation over press freedom.

Human rights abuses are a common occurrence in West Papua, according to human rights organisations. Simply raising the West Papuan flag can result in 15-years imprisonment.(*)

James Halpin is a student journalist on the Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies course at AUT. He is filing articles in the Asia-Pacific Journalism Studies paper.

Source: MIL OSI AnalysisEveningReport.nz

 

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Civilians are allegedly among casualties in Tingginambut gunfire

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Resort police squad of Tingginambut met one of the tribe leaders last year (illustration) – Tribratanews.papua.polri.go.id

Jayapura, Jubi – A human rights worker from the Kingmi Church reported seven people died in a gunfire between a joint Indonesian force of the Law Enforcement Task Force (Satgas Gakkum) with a group of Free Papua Liberation Army (TPN) / OPM) led by Goliat Tabuni in Puncak Jaya District, Papua on Monday morning (1/10/2018).

“Five people killed are civilians, including two children and a pregnant woman. Meanwhile, the other two are TPN/OPM members,” he explained by phone on Saturday (6/10/2018).

Furthermore, he said from the information he received from Tingginambut confirmed that these seven dead victims found around the villagers’ houses. So apparently more victims might be found in the woods as many villagers escaped to the forest during the shooting.

Meanwhile, the Military Information Chief of XVII Cenderawasih Colonel Inf. Muhammad Aidi in the press release confirmed the gunfire in Tingginambut sub-district really happened.

“At around 6:45 am of Papua time, the military task force of 20 soldiers led by the First Lieutenant Inf. Angga conducted a patrol when they saw the Morning Star flag fluttering on the hill in Gubuleme village of Tingginambut sub-district. They then found out that the location was the headquarters of the insurgent group under Golliat Tabuni,” said the colonel.

He further said the military warned the group to surrender, but instead they shot a soldier. Consequently, the 30 minutes gunfire between the army and insurgents unavoidably occurred.

Being oppressed, he said the insurgent group finally retreated behind the hill and ran out to the forest, whereas the soldiers took control on the insurgents’ headquarters. An insurgent was down at the location.

“There were also some evidences found, namely a British-made Lee Enfield long barrel, two digital cameras, a number of TPN / OPM documents, a revolver fire gun, dozens of various caliber ammunition, an air rifle, two cellphones, a series of automatic rifle ammunition, two laptops, and the Morning Star flag, “he said. (*)

Reporter: Victor Mambor

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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